Noise and nuisance fears over Walsall brewery tap house plan

Worried residents fear they will lose the “tranquillity” of their area if plans to create a tap room on the site of an historic Walsall brewery are approved.

Resident Robin Perry outside Highgate Brewery in Sandymount Road, Walsall. Photo: Gurdip Thandi
Resident Robin Perry outside Highgate Brewery in Sandymount Road, Walsall. Photo: Gurdip Thandi

Highgate Brewery Tap House has applied for a premises licence from Walsall Council for the venture on the Grade II listed 19th century building on Sandymount Road.

If approved, the venue – referred to as Highgate Brewery Culture & Events Centre – would be able supply alcohol from 11am to 10.30pm as well as hosting plays, films, live and recorded music and dance performances.

But people living nearby said it would cause a huge disruption, with issues such as noise, nuisance, late night drinking and increased traffic.

An online petition against the plan has collected more than 130 names within a week of it being set up.

A spokeswoman for Highgate Brewery said the application was in a very early stage but added it would bring jobs and investment back to the site of the brewery, which closed in 2010.

The former Highgate Brewery, in Sandymount Road, Walsall

Resident Robin Perry said he believed bats were also on the site but Highgate said there was no evidence of this.

Mr Perry said: “My dad used to work there and I’ve been in there many times. Residents loved the brewery and accepted it and were used to the activity which took place as a result.

“But people do not want this. We are concerned about the hours, late night drinking, noise from live music and the impact on traffic and parking.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “This is a quiet, tranquil area where you can hear a pin drop but this will cause a lot of noise and disturbance.

“We were used to the brewery as there were restrictions and they’d be finished by 6pm but this will be a nuisance.

“There is a school nearby and this is a walking route for children and there is only one way in and out of the brewery on Sandymount Road.

“We are not against development of the site. We don’t want it to sit empty but it has to be the right development for the area.”

Highgate’s spokeswoman said suggestions of loud music and nuisance were “unwarranted” at this early stage while parking requirements would be addressed.

She added that shops selling alcohol had co-existed around schools while the brewery had been in operation since the late 1800s.

She said: “Over the last 18 months, a time that has been incredibly difficult for the hospitality industry, the owners of Highgate have considered opening a Tap House at the site.

“That was an internal decision that required consideration in terms of finance and also with regards to the strategy of the company.

“We have spoken to parties who are part of the local community. When the site was closed over 10 years ago, many people were saddened, as the facility was a fond part of British brewing history.

“We have received words of encouragement and support from various members of the local, and wider community, which we very much appreciate.”

She added: “(This is) investment in job creation at a time when many people have lost jobs due to the impact of Covid, and also investment in the building that has sat mothballed for 10 years.

“Should the tap house be approved, this will undoubtedly create a number of jobs and enable investment into the facility which has been a part of the community since the late 1800s.”

Residents have until Tuesday, August 17 to make representations to Walsall Council’s licensing department.

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